For the first pay-per-view of the year, you have the return of ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor. He is set to rematch a former opponent in whom he has beaten, ‘Diamond’ Dustin Poirier in a five round main event at lightweight. The co-main event is the UFC debut for Michael Chandler going up against Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker. This card has been built off of these two fights alone, and the promotion has been heavily invested in these two fights due to the current outlook of the lightweight division.
For the co-main event, Chandler and Hooker is the classic wrestler versus striker matchup. Dan Hooker is an established veteran in the promotion who has knocked out the likes of Gilbert Burns, James Vick, and Jim Miller to name a few. He is a guy who likes to stand and trade and he feels like he can get the best of any exchange with his reach and kickboxing background. He is coming off a loss to the headliner, Dustin Poirier in a hard fought five round decision loss. It was one of the fight of the year candidates, from a competition standpoint, but Dan is looking to get back into the win column to stay in the title picture.
As for Michael Chandler, how can he get a top guy so quickly whilst being a co-main event on a McGregor card? The answer is simple: he was a certified stud in Bellator and is ready to fight anyone. He was a champion in the organization, and when he signed here he was set up as the backup fighter to Khabib-Gaethje. That was a spot in which nobody wanted, therefore the UFC gave it to him right away when he came over. If you want to learn a little more about Chandler, check out the article written by fellow TWSN Analyst, Michael Daly:
This is a fight I can see going the distance. I think it will be a tough fight back and forth early on, however, I do think Dan Hooker gets the job done. It would not surprise me if Chandler gets stopped with strikes within the first few rounds. Hooker’s overall Octagon experience and level of competition he faced is just higher than what Chandler has seen. It would surprise me if Hooker gets finished, seeing how Poirier couldn’t even finish him.
As for the main event, we have two well known killers, no introductions needed. Their first fight was at featherweight, and Conor has admittedly stated he cannot get that low again. Dustin has turned into one of the best fighters at lightweight as well, and even became an interim champion. This fight to me looks like it will go the same way, however. I don’t see how Dustin gets Conor to the ground, and if they keep it standing then it will be as quick as the first fight. Dustin’s chin has improved over time and he can take a lot of punishment, but Conor has magic in his left hand. I see this ending via knockout in round two, by the biggest star in the sport.